SMALL Francis[1]

Male 1625 - Abt 1713  (~ 87 years)

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  • Name SMALL Francis 
    Christened 6 Oct 1625  Bideford, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Male 
    Name Francis Smalley  [3
    Will 1711  [3
    _UID 52AE66F157475242993BF8386B43760DBE85 
    Died Abt 1713  Truro, Barnstable, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • Son to Edward1 Small, one of the founders of the Plantation of Piscataqua, now Kittery, Maine, was baptized October 6, 1625, in St. Mary's Parish, Bideford, County Devon, England.

      The name Francis was not at all common among the Smalls in the County of Devon at that date, which gives some slight probability to the statement that Francis Small "received his name from his famous kinsman, Captain Francis Champernowne." This was the assertion of Humphrey Small, a lineal descendant of the seventh generation from Edward, of whom his son wrote: "He was a born historian and geographer. He knew not only the world's history, but his knowledge of his own family history was so accurate that in all my prowlings among old records I have not once found him in error. He knew the parentage of Francis and the relationship to Champernowne." Extensive writings upon this subject, which Humphrey is known to have left, have disappeared.

      That he came over with his father at an early day is evident, but equally difficult to determine as to time. It was probably about 1634 or 1635, -- though his deposition in the case of Mason vs. Waldron, sworn to September 8, 1685, fixes his birth at about 1620, and makes his age greater than elsewhere stated, with evident intent to prove that he personally remembered the arrival of the Danes, etc. It is more likely, however, that the Danes came over some little time before.

      In this deposition he "Maketh Oath" that he, "Francis Small of Piscattaway in New England, Planter, Aged Sixty five years . . . hath lived in New England upward of ffifty years that he very well Knew ye Plantations Capt. Mason had Caused to be made at Pascattaway Strawberry Bank and Newichewanock and was well Acquainted with all the Servants imployed by Capt. Mason upon said plantations . . . and this Deponent doth very well remember that Capt Mason Sent into this Country Eight Danes to build Mills to Saw Timber and tend them & to make Pot ashes And that the first Saw Mill and Corn Mill in New England was Erected at Capt. Masons Plantations at Newichewanock upwards of ffifty years. . . . That about ffourty years Since . . . this Deponent with others was imployed by Capt francis Norton (who then at Mason's house at Pascattaway called the Great house) to Drive about One hundred head of great Cattle towards Boston & the Said Capt Norton did goe with the Cattle."

      In 1657, he was a fisherman of Casco Bay;?? purchasing from "Scitterygussett," an Indian Sagamore, of Casco Bay, on the "27: day of July" of that year, a tract of "vpland & Marshes at Capissicke [now Portland] Lying vp along the Northerne side of the riuer, vnto the head yr of, & soe to reach & extend vnto ye riuer side of Ammecungan /," binding himself "yearly to pay vnto ye sd Scitterygussett Sagamore during his life one Trading Coate for Capussicke & one Gallone of Liquors for Ammo[m]ingan."

      The name applied to this tract of land, Capisic (Ca-pis??-ic), with trifling variations as to spelling, according to good Indian linguists means the "Net-fishing-place," and perpetuates the Indian name of that locality, for which the Sagamore Scitterygussett was annually to receive a trading-coat from Francis Small during his lifetime.

      An indefinite number of acres, surrounding a pond and waterfall, extended from Fore River (anciently Casco River) to what is now known as Cumberland Mills, in Westbrook. Here Francis Small had made a clearing, "built a house and improved the land considerably aboue thirty years last past," as stated in the petition of one Robert Lawrence, in 1686, to whom Small had sold a portion of this tract. With the change in government by which Andros came into power, Lawrence petitioned for further confirmation of his title, as he "hath made a considerable settlement & now lives upon the same." His petition was granted.

      The conflicting claims for land titles in Maine at that time are clearly exemplified in the few years succeeding this Indian deed to Small. Francis Small, who was doubtless indebted to John Phillips, assigned to him "ye halfe within mentioned pcell of Land," at Capisic, May 10, 1658. Soon after, the matter was brought before the court by an action of George Cleeves (who had settled upon adjoining land) against Francis Small, of which the following is the official record:

      "At a Court houlden at Yorke, for the County of Yorke Shyre on Munday the 4th of July 1659 by the Worshipll Capt Thomas Wiggin & Tho: Danforth Magestrats, Major Nic: Shapleigh, Mr Abra: Preble & Edw: Richworth R: Cor: Assotiats . . .

      "Mr Geo: Cleeve is plantiffe In an Action of the Case Contra Francis Smale defendt, to the valew of five hundred pounds for praesumeing to settle & build upon the plantiffs Lande & The Jury finds for the defendt. Costs of Court 37s"??

      His title being established, "Fran: Smale [again] acknowledgeth this assignment to Mr. Jon Phillips to be his Act & Deed . . . this 8: of July:59 before Edw: Richworth Assotiate."

      In 1680, Lieutenant-Governor Danforth went to Maine to resettle Falmouth, which was nearly wiped out during King Philip's war; with the result that Captain Sylvanus Davis, a stirring man, obtained a town grant of "a mile square" at Capisic, the pond and falls being located in the southwesterly corner of the same, upon which Davis built a saw-mill. This "mile square" was largely within the limits of Lawrence's possessions, but he was "willing to quit Claime to [Davis] vpon Condition yt his Marsh may not bee damnified Thereby."

      Francis Small, being still greatly indebted to Mr. John Phillips, assigned, "this 23 of ffeburarie 1662," to George Mountjoy, son-in-law to Phillips, "all such Debts as are now oweing from or remaineing in ye hands of any Indian or Indians inhabiting within New England, as alsoe Such Debts as shall be Due vnto mee hereafter . . . And I the sayd Smale doe promise yt euery time I returne outt of ye Countrie to giue a Just account to ye sayd Munioy [Mountjoy] of all such Debts as shall bee Due from any Indian, And Doe Likewise by these presents make ouer vnto ye sayd George Munioy all ye right title & interest that I haue might haue or ought to haue to any Land or housing att Osseby . . . untill the some of Two hundred & fortie pounds=7s 5d . . . shall bee fullie satisfied."??

      Twelve years later, "Att a County Court houlden at Wells [July 7, 1674] Mr. Geo: Munioy is plantiffe in an Action of debt due by bill to ye valew of 240 pounds Contra Fran. Smale Defendt: "The Jure finds for the plaintiffe in bever [beaver] Mowse [moose] or peltrie according to bill a hundred & ninetie one pound eight shillings & 3 pence & fortie pounds Damage & Costs of Court 01:8:6."(*)

      It is evident that Mountjoy did not receive the monetary returns that he should, since, "by vertue of an Execution," he seized upon the more accessible land of Francis Small at Kittery, containing two hundred and two acres. In 1675, Mountjoy conveyed to John Farnum, of Boston, for œ80, "all that my piece or parcell of land Lying and being in the Township of Kittery . . . containing one hundred and one Acre, and is One Moitie or half part of that Tract of Land which was Delivered unto me . . . against the Estate of ffrancis Small . . . bounded Southerly by ye River that leads towards Brod butt [Braveboat] Harbor."??

      As late as 1772, "Martha Mountjoy Relict Widow & Administrator to the Estate of her late husband Josiah Mountjoy of Boston . . . Innholder deceased Intestate," conveyed to "Colo Penn Townsend of Boston Esqr . . . One full ninth Part of . . . several Tracts of Land in Casco Bay . . . heretofore the Lands & Estates of John Philips deceased, Great Grand father of the sd Josiah Mountjoy & of George Mountjoy Grand Father of the sd Josiah Mountjoy," the first tract described as "all that Upland & Marish at Capissick lying up along the Northerne Side of sd Capissick River . . . which lands Squittergussett Indian Sagamore of Casco Bay sold unto Francis Small as by his deed . . . bearing Date July 27, 1657;" and by Small assigned to John Phillips "May 10th 1658 & July 12th 1659."

      Notwithstanding other suits and attempts to take possession, "about two hundred acres of land at Capisic are now held, located between the meeting-house and Fore River, under the Indian sale to Small."

      The idea one gains of Francis Small from a study of the records is that he was venturesome, fearless, alert, somewhat given to "speaking his mind," and, withal, a resourceful man. He might be called the forerunner of the "typical Yankee;" the product of a hard life under new conditions. Of his personal presence we know nothing. Governor Sullivan, in his "History of Maine," alludes to him as "the great land-owner," and there is no doubt that he possessed the largest number of acres of any person who ever lived in Maine.

      Mentioned sometimes as a "Planter,"(+) again as a fisherman,?? he was predominently an Indian trader; without doubt speaking the language of the Indians, and for long periods living among them at his trading-camps. Major Nicholas Shapleigh and others also employed him to negotiate with the Indians.

      During the years spent in Casco Bay, some of them at least as a fisherman, Francis Small had a trading-camp on the island of Sebascodegan, -- then often called Great Chebascodegan or Great Island, -- which is now an important constituent of the town of Harpswell. It is the largest island in Casco Bay, and is remarkable for the extreme irregularity of its shape. Though no more than six and a half miles long and three miles wide, its coast line is over fifty miles in length. By a strait of the width of only a few rods, it is separated from Harpswell Neck for more than a mile. The island and neck of land forming the town of Harpswell were once a part of the territory of North Yarmouth, being set off as a separate township in 1758.

      To this island Francis Small removed with his wife and children, about 1659, according to tradition, but it seems more probable that it was a year or two later; and the child born to them there was the first born of English parents on Great Sebascodegan. It was truly in the wilderness, yet here he is said to have spent more than a year.

      In a deposition, taken May 10, 1683, "ffrancis Smale Senjor aged about fifty six yeares & Elizabeth Smale aged about fourty nine yeares . . . made oath, yt about Twenty three or twenty foure years agone" he was employed by Major Nicholas Shapleigh to purchase the island "which some Call Sebascoe Diggin, for which this Deponent payd the Indeans a Considerable sume of Wamponpeag [wampum] seuerall Gunnes, & a Parcell of Toba [tobacco]:" and that he purchased the island in Major Shapleigh's behalf and "built an house by order of Major Shapleigh" -- taking possession of the island by the same order.

      About a year later (July 21, 1684), "Thomas Haynes & Joyce Haynes his wife & Sampson Penley haueing all been antient Inhabitants In Cascoe Bay," testified "upon oath, that aboue Twenty years last past, they haue vnderstood by coman report that ye Indians had sould to ffrancis Smale, an Indea [Indian] Trader the Ysland of Sebascoe Diggin lijng in Cascoe Bay aforesd & haue since been Informed that ye sd Francs Smale bought ye sd Ysland for Mr Nicholas Shapleigh & the Deponents say after sd Purchase, there was Improuement made by ye English on sd ysland, which was Called by the name of Smales ysland, & the Deponents say that they neuer heard yt any other Person layd Clajme to ye sd ysland /and further say not/"

      Opposite the southeasterly shore of Sebascodegan, or "Small's Island," on the other side of a narrow strip of water, was Cape Small Point, generally accepted as named for Francis Small. This point is the easterly limit of Casco Bay, and is the southwesterly extremity of the present town of Phippsburg, originally a part of Georgetown. A small peninsula extends from the larger and is the true Cape Small Point. On the westerly shore above this projection is a safe and snug harbor, for more than two centuries mentioned as Small Point Harbor. This harbor and village, and adjacent lands comprising a summer resort, have now the local name of Small Point.

      As early as the days when Francis Small was living on the island, this harbor "was famous for its sturgeon fishery. The fish were cut up, cured, and shipped to Spanish markets." Small, though engaged somewhat in traffic with the Indians, for years had been a fisherman. Since the easterly coast of Sebascodegan afforded no good harbor, it would be natural that the opposite shore, offering the needed protection for his ship, or ships, should be utilized. Hence the name, -- Small Point Harbor.

      Before removing to Sebascodegan, Francis Small had purchased a "plantation" at Martin's Point in Falmouth, which he sold, November 2, 1658, for £25.10, "wth all ye houseing & profits, priviledges & appurces [appurtenances] thereunto belonging," to Isaac Walker, of Boston; but he probably never lived there, or at least not long, since he mentioned it as "ye plantation that I have lately bought." This land, first possessed by John Phillips, of Boston, "in 1643 or 1654," formed what is now the southern point of Falmouth Foreside, nearly opposite Clapboard Island in Casco Bay.

      In 1662, Francis Small had returned with his family to Falmouth, at which time he assigned all his debts due from the Indians to George Mountjoy. This document makes mention of "all ye right title & interest, that I haue might haue or ought to haue to any Land or housing at Ossebey [Ossipee];" proving that he had already established a trading-camp in that region.

      As nearly as can be ascertained, the spot upon which this camp was pitched was near the junction of the Saco and Great Ossipee rivers, within the present limits of the town of Cornish. "He had strayed through the wilderness and built a small house where the village now stands." It was still a wilderness in 1772, when first surveyed and named, in his honor, Francisborough; afterwards incorporated, February 26, 1794, as Cornish.

      Leaving his family at Falmouth, and later on at Kittery, Small spent much of his time during the next few years at Ossipee, bringing in the results of his own trapping and the pelts which he had purchased from the Indians.

      The story of the causes that led to the conveyance of the Ossipee lands to Francis Small, for a merely nominal sum, is a tradition said to have been gleaned from old papers once belonging to Major Nicholas Shapleigh.

      "In the summer of 1668, Francis Small sold goods to the Newichewannock tribe of Indians on credit, for which they were to pay in furs during the autumn; but, when the time of payment drew near, the red men deemed it easier to kill Small than to pay him, and they decided to fire his house and shoot him when he came out to escape the flames. Captain Sandy, the chief of the tribe, was friendly to Small and told him what the Indians were to do; and, as he could not control them in the matter, he advised Small to flee for his life. Small thought the tale a cunningly devised fable to frighten him away in order to avoid payment; but, when night came on, thinking it wise to be on the side of safety, he secreted himself in some pines on a hill near by and watched through the long November night. With the coming of the dawn, a flame of fire shot up from the burning house, whereupon Small took to his heels with all possible speed, and did not pause until he had reached the settlement."

      The chief, "Nick Sumbe," or "Wesumbe, by the English called Capt Sandy," followed Small and made good the loss caused by debt and by fire, conveying to him the entire Ossipee tract.

      Although Francis Small is mentioned in the Ossipee deed as of Kittery, and his family may have been there, it appears probable that, when his life was endangered by pursuing Indians, he sought the nearest settlement, which was Casco Bay, or Falmouth, less than half the distance to Kittery. Here he was joined by Captain Sandy and the deed was executed, his former maritime friends being witnesses. Peter Housing and his stepfather, John Cloyes (Clayes or Cloice), as well as Sampson Penley, were fishermen of Casco Bay.

      Distances were not so well known then as now, and it has since been claimed that the "twenty miles square [256,000] acres shrank perceptibly." Later surveys, however, show that the two Ossipees are twelve to fourteen miles apart, at the widest. The limits of the six towns, from north to south, are fully twenty miles; and from east to west, about eighteen; -- an immense holding for one man to possess, even at that day, when wild land was estimated at a very low figure.

      As compensation for "good and valuable satisfaction by me in Hand reced at and before the Day of the Date of these Presents . . . the Receipt wheereof I do hereby acknowledge," Francis Small, by deed dated January 28, 1669, conveyed to Major Nicholas Shapleigh of Kittery(*) "the One Moiety or half part thereof (the whole in two Parts to be equally Divided) Together Also with the One half of all the Uplands Meadow Marshes Swamps Woods . . . thereunto belonging or in anywise Appertaining," at Ossipee.(+)

      For some good reason, the two deeds -- that of Captain Sandy to Francis Small, and from Small to Shapleigh -- were not at that time recorded. The latter, failing to receive full payment of his debt, and ignoring the deed, about 1679-80 instituted an action in court to recover the balance remaining unpaid.

      The deed to Francis Small from Captain Sandy was not recorded until August 28, 1773, nearly one hundred and five years after it was executed. The story of its wanderings and the efforts of different members of the family to find it would fill a volume. Francis himself, "When he was at Piscataqua Sometime," after his removal to Cape Cod, "Looked for the Indian Deed of the said Tract of Land and Could Not find it & wondred what was become of it & sd he believed it was Sum how or other huseled out of the Way." Lost, or hidden, for three generations, it came to light almost as mysteriously as it had disappeared.

      The heirs of Francis, meanwhile, were far from quiet. What were their suspicions has never been told. Some one, with evident intent to replace the lost document, encouraged by the apparent cessation of Indian hostilities and the wave of prosperity then spreading over the country,?? on May 24, 1743, recorded a deed which looks as though drawn from memory of the original, or, more probably, from reference to the deed of Small to Shapleigh, dated January 28, 1669. Its weak points are: that it is dated 1666, instead of 1668, and the former year is given as the "Twenty year of the Reign of our Most Gracious Sovereign Lord Charles the second," while Charles II was crowned in Scotland early in the year 1650, sixteen years before; and that the three witnesses were of Kittery, with no appearance of having been closely associated with Small. Beyond recording the deed, however, no attempt appears to have been made to obtain possession of the land.

      The conveyance of this tract from Francis Small to his son, Samuel Small, dated April 30, 1711, recorded August 28, 1773, has also been disputed; but his signature, "ffrancis Smale," is undeniably the same as in the deed from Small to George Mountjoy, in 1662.

      In disposing of "all that my Tract of land which I bought of an Indian called Capt. Sandy," had he in his old age forgotten the deed to Shapleigh, or did he for some reason consider it null and void?

      Whether this deed to Samuel Small was lost with the original Indian deed, or was held pending its recovery, there is no means of determining.

      It is stated that Captain Sandy's deed to Francis Small was found about 1771; and, simultaneously with its appearance, the deed from Francis to his son, Samuel.

      The heirs of Major Shapleigh took preliminary measures "to go up and possess the land" at a "legal meeting of said heirs held at the Inn of William Leighton in Kittery, on the first Monday of March, 1772;" and, under the direction of Joshua Hubbard and Dependent Shapleigh, committee, a part of the land was run out by James Warren, surveyor, in 1772, and called the Plantation of Shapleighborough.

      From the beginning, the Shapleigh heirs took the initiative. July 6, 1773, they had the deed from Francis Small to Nicholas Shapleigh recorded; though the original Indian deed and that from Francis to Samuel were not recorded until August 28, following.

      Meanwhile, the heirs of Samuel Small and the heirs of Major Nicholas Shapleigh had held a meeting, August 17, 1773, at the Inn of Colonel Samuel March, on Oak Hill, Scarborough, at which they made a final division of the land among themselves; each party agreeing to give Mr. James Sullivan, the noted jurist, "the one half of thirteen thousand acres of land where he has laid out, called by the name of Limbrick [Limerick] town . . . provided Said Sullivan oblige himself to defend our title against other claims."??

      Afterward (August 15, 1774), Mr. James Sullivan affixed his signature to a paper in which he agreed, under the above conditions, to defend the heirs of Small and Shapleigh against the "Proprietors holding under William Phillips or Proprietors holding under any other Person," and to save them "harmless from any such cost as may arise."(*)

      By the terms of this division, the Shapleigh heirs were to "have their half of said tract of land to the westerly part thereof that is to say eight miles square in part below or to the south of little Ossipee river agreeable to their plan taken by Warren and as much between the two Ossipee rivers adjoining Newhampshire line as to make the one half of the whole claim in quantity and quallity -- the heirs of the said Francis Small to have their half to the eastward."??

      The next step of the Smalls toward taking possession of the land was a notice "inserted in the several Boston weekly newspapers more than forty days prior" to their first meeting, "agreeable to the direction of the province law in such case made and provided." It appeared in "The Boston Gazette" under date of June 6, June 10, and June 20, 1774; "The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy," under date of May 30, June 13, June 20, and June 27, 1774; and in "The Boston Evening-Post" of June 6 and 13, of that year.

      These notices were identically the same as in the first page of the Proprietors' Records of the town of Limington, commencing, "To the Honorable Jeremiah Powell Esq." -- with "notification" of a meeting to be held "at the house of Mr. Samuel March, Innholder in Scarborough, in the County of Cumberland, on the first Monday of August next," i. e. August 1, 1774.

      The signatures to this call appearing in the various newspapers (corresponding to those of the Proprietors' Records under date of May 17, 1774) were:

      Abstracts from the Proprietors' Records of the town of Limington, their first settlement, extending from August 1, 1774, to June 28, 1803, show the various measures pursued to gain and retain a foothold upon those rocky hills.

      These claimants, however, were not allowed to take possession quietly. As early as 1770, the heirs of Bridget Phillips, widow of Major William Phillips, of Boston, demanded a part of this land under her will, dated September 21, 1696.

      Mrs. Bridget Phillips was in life a person of considerable importance, to whom her husband had conveyed by deed, early in their married life, a large amount of real estate in York County, Maine, as well as the homestead in Boston, in return for the "foure hundred pounds portion wch I receaued with my psent wife Bridgett Phillips."

      The lands claimed by the Phillips heirs, largely covering the Ossipee region as divided between the Smalls and Shapleighs, are clearly defined in her will:

      She bequeathed "unto my Grandchildren the Children of my two sonnes Samuel Phillips and William Phillips all that my part of the land at SACO known by the name of the Pattent" . . . also "my part of the four hundred acres of marsh ground at Cape porpus, commonly knowne by the name of Jeffries Marsh my part of Cow Island," etc. in Saco River . . . "equally to be divided among them; and every of them both male & female to haue their equal parts thereof." "To my two sonns Samuel Phillips and William Phillips [land] purchased by my sd husband of Mohegan [Mogg Heigon] an Indian as by deed" (described in the deed as "running up eight Miles into the land"); also, "all my right & title in the Rocks that were purchased of Capt. Sunday, and two thousand acres of land and meddow next adjoyning to set [said] rocks wch set Land & meddow reaches from Salmon falls to the set Rocks, and was purchased by my sd husband of mr John Rogomock an Indian proprietor as by a writting under sd Rogomocks hands may appear . . . equally to bee divided between them, and to their heirs and Assignes for ever / All which said land my part of the Rocks and the two thousand acres . . . [were] given me by my sd husband in consideration of a Considerable estate wch. I brought to him."

      To the children of a former husband, Sanford, she bequeathed "One quarter part of a parcell of land bought of ffluellin Sumtimus an Indian as by his deed bearing date; March 30th. 1661:" together with "my part of the land bought of sabbaccoman an Indian."

      "Dated, Sept. 20, 1696; "BRIDGETT PHILLIPS."??
      proved, Aug. 18, 1698."

      Major Phillips was the rightful possessor of large areas in Saco and vicinity. The land of which he obtained "absolute possession" from the Indian Sagamore, Fluellen, "formerly the true Indean Proprietor," he conveyed, by deed, in 1676, to his sons, sons-in-law, the three sons and one daughter of his wife by a former marriage, and other parties -- nineteen persons -- in equal shares. In this conveyance, he stated that "sd Purchase is since confirmed by Fardindo Gorges Esqr, the heyre & successor of Sr Fardinando Gorges Kntt the Ld Proprietor of the whole province of Mayn, alias Yorke shyr . . . all wch sayd Gyfts & purchases being summed vp doth amount to Nineteen Thousand Acers of Land & is neere one halfe of the Land of eight Miles square soe set out for a township."

      With his wife, Bridget, William Phillips had conveyed to his son, "Nathanael, by deceased wife Susanna," in 1664, "one sixteenth part of a Certain Mine, being Accopted a Silver Mine, lijng & being aboue Sacoe Falls, about fourty Miles more or lesse which I bought of an Indean Known by the name of Capt: Sunday."?? This was probably the Rocks, and two thousand acres, reaching from Salmon Falls in the Saco River to Sunday's Rocks, her right to which Bridgett Phillips left by will to her two sons, Samuel and William Phillips.

      Beside the Phillips heirs there were other claimants to this land at Ossipee. Elisha Small (grandson of Daniel, son to Francis) and other heirs of Daniel Small assumed that they were entitled to the whole tract under the deed of Captain Sandy to Francis Small, which was dated November 28, 1666, recorded May 24, 1743, and the deed from Francis to his son Daniel, dated "ye last day of October," 1712, and recorded June 24, 1713, the latter being signed with his mark. This leads to the supposition that the former deed was probably recorded in 1743 through the agency of some of these heirs.

      In support of this assumption, a notice was placed in several of the Boston papers that had a wide circulation, stating that the "Proprietors of a Tract of Land about fifty Miles square, lying and bordering upon Piscataqua River in the County of York, late in the Province of Maine, which desended to us by Francis Small, late of Truro, in the County of Barnstable, in the said Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, deceased, who purchased the same from one Captain Sandy, an Indian Sagamore," called a meeting "to be held at the House of Mr. Moses Shattuck, of Falmouth, in the County of Cumberland, Innholder, on the eighteenth Day of September next at two of the Clock in the Afternoon" for the purpose of choosing officers, and "to choose an Agent or Agents, to prosecute any persons who have, or may enter or trespass upon the said Land." This notice, dated Falmouth, July 6, 1774, was signed by


      It appeared simultaneously in three Boston weeklies on August 8, 1774: "The Boston Gazette" of August 8, August 23, and October [No. 885]; "The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy," August 8, 15, 22, 29, and September 5; and "The Boston Evening-Post," August 8, 15, 22, and 29, 1774.

      Two months before publishing this notice (June 10, 1774), Elisha Small, of Cape Elizabeth, mariner, for £20, paid by Samuel Freeman, of Falmouth, merchant, quitclaimed to Freeman a portion of this tract; and the deed so definitely states the grounds upon which his claim rested that it is given nearly in full.

      The land conveyed is described as "One Fifth of one Eighth Part of all that Tract and parcel of Land lying or bordering up Piscataqua River which my Great Grandfather Francis Small late of Truro in the County of Barnstable . . . convey'd by Deed under his Hand & Seal Dated the last Day of Octr. Anno Domini one thousand Seven Hundred and Twelve and recorded in the Seventh Book of Records for Deeds for the County of York to his son & my Grandfather Daniel Small, late of Truro aforesaid Carpenter Decd. as by said Deed may appear which said Tract of Land the said Francis Small purchased of an Indian called Capt. Sandy as by his Deed Dated the 28th.. Day of Novemr. one thousand six hundred & sixty Six & Recorded in the twenty third Book of the Records for Deeds for the County of York folo. 238. may appear or however or otherwise it was Derived or Descended to the said Francis Small the One Eighth Part of said Tract of Land Descended to me the said Elisha & Molly my Sister whose Interest I have purchased from my Father Elisha Small of Provincetown in the County of Barnstable aforesd. Mariner Deced. who was one of the Children of the said Daniel Small late of Truro aforesaid Decd.

      "In Witness whereof I the said Elisha Small have hereunto set my Hand & Seal the tenth Day of June in the fourteenth Year of his Majesty's Reign Annoque Domini 1774.

      "Witnesses (Signed)
      PELATIAH FERNALD [seal]"

      Recorded June 14, 1774.

      On the same day he also conveyed to Thomas and Matthew Simonton of Cape Elizabeth, for £25, "One Quarter of one Eighth part" of the same land: deed recorded June 14, 1774.

      Among the heirs of Samuel3 Small who claimed the same land, Joshua5, son to Samuel4 and Anna (Hatch) Small, was probably the earliest to remove with his family to that section afterwards incorporated as the town of Limington. He was soon after followed by Benjamin6, son to Samuel5 and Dorothy (Hubbard) Small, and others connected with the family, but not bearing the name; while Samuel March, son to Benjamin and Elizabeth4 (Small) March, and Samuel5, son to Samuel4 and Anna (Hatch) Small, both active in promoting the interests of the new settlement, lived and died in Scarborough, though many of their descendants afterwards removed to Limington.

      After the war was ended and the Province of Massachusetts, then including the present State of Maine, had adopted a constitution and taken a form of government as the State of Massachusetts, there were "loud complaints that plunderers were stripping the public lands of their best timber; and at the same time many conflicting claims were in contest as to proprietorship." This led the General Court, May 1, 1781, to appoint a committee of five able men "to inquire into the encroachments upon all the wild lands of the state; and to examine the rights and pretexts of claimants, and to prosecute obstinate intruders and trespassers; and yet to liquidate fair adjustments with all such as were disposed to do right, upon principles of equity, good faith and duty."

      The five men chosen were Jedediah Preble, of Falmouth, Jonathan Greenleaf, of New Gloucester, David Sewall, of York, John Lewis, of North Yarmouth, and John Lithgow, of Bath; who were appointed by the General Court "a Committee to examine into all ... trespasses and illegal entries of unappropriated lands [in the territory now Maine] with full power in behalf of this Commonwealth.... That said committee be, and hereby are directed, to examine the authenticity of claims to the said unappropriated lands, or any part thereof, which they may have reason to think are not well founded, and report the state of such claims to the General Court, as soon as may be"; and they can "cause to be run out and marked out such dividing lines between the lands belonging to or claimed by any individual, or any number of individuals ... as they may judge necessary."

      The only witness of record, called to support the claims of the heirs of Daniel Small before these Commissioners, was Mrs. Anna Dyer, of Cape Elizabeth, daughter to Daniel and granddaughter to Francis Small, who testified in August, 1781.

      Giving her age as "about Eighty Six Years," she declared that her grandfather told Squire Paine, of Truro, that the deed to his son, Daniel Small, bearing date 1712, had been given in consideration that his son Daniel "had maintained him and his Wife Six or Seven Years and Must Maintain them as Long as they Lived." His "other Lands mentioned in the Deed was a large tract of Twenty miles Square Lying a back of Wells and he had a house there and Traded with the Indians and the Indian Name of the Place was ossabe and She well Remembers That he sd. he had Conveyed one half to one Shapley," and "She well remembers he Spoke of but one Indian Deed and Not in the Plural number of Deeds, She further Says that hur sd. Grandfather Said he Did Not think his Son Daniel would Recover the Said Tract of Land without more Diffickulty than the Capepish [Capisic] Lands because he said the bounds of it was uncertain." Continuing, she said "that She Never Saw hur Uncle Samuel Small as She Remembers in hur life but was Told that he was at Truro when She was a bout a Year Old and that hur grandfather had Lived at Truro where he Come to from Piscataqua as long ago as She Could Remember And that She Never heard of his going any where from Cape Cod within Ten or Twelve year before he Died"; also, that she never heard of any deed to her uncle Samuel, but on the contrary, "her Grandfather said several Times that he would give all his Estate to his son Daniel because he was the onely help he had & his onely Dependence." Asked by Deacon Samuel Small as to the ability of her grandfather to write, owing to his affliction with the palsy, she remembered that "he could Not write his Name for Several Years before he Signed said Deed, at least More than Two Years before he Signed Said Deed [Francis to Daniel]." She was not an interested party in the above-mentioned land because her "Father aforesaid gave all his lands to his sons."

      This deposition was acknowledged at Cape Elizabeth, August 27, 1781, before William Simonton and David Strout, Justices of the Peace. Upon a call for these persons by the Court, June 7, 1794, it was reported that "David Strout Esqr and Miss [Mrs.?] Anna Dyer both of Cape Elizabeth are both dead."

      The reports of these Commissioners make no mention of the Indian deeds, nor of any adjustment of the claims of the heirs of Samuel, or Daniel, Small, probably because the matter had already been decided in the courts in favor of the former; but the security of the heirs of Samuel Small was more firmly established by the appeal of the Commissioners to the "Great and General Court of Massachusetts," which resulted in the passage of a bill, signed by Governor John Hancock, on October 30, 1782, confirming to the claimants under Nicholas Shapleigh the lands south of the Little Ossipee River upon which they had settled, "supposing they owned" them (fully bounded and described), "provided... that the said Proprietors shall, on or before the First Day of March next, give sufficient Security to the Acceptance of Jedediah Prebble Esquire, and others, the Committee appointed... for the Payment of Four Hundred Pounds to the Treasurer of this Commonwealth, for the Use thereof, on or before the Tenth Day of October next, with Interest for the Same till paid."

      This tract, mentioned as the "plantation called Shapleyborough," and the only Ossipee town south of the Little Ossipee River, was incorporated as the town of Shapleigh, March 5, 1785.??

      At the same session of the General Court, October 30, 1782, by Act of Legislature, a tract was assigned to the heirs of William and Bridget Phillips, called Phillipstown (afterward incorporated as the towns of Sanford, Waterborough, Alfred, and Hollis), provided "said Proprietors shall on or before the first Day of January next, release and relinquish all further Claims to the Lands" formerly laid out to them by the General Court, and to all "within the limits of the tract which they laid out to the heirs of Nic: Shapleigh ... and to the Acceptance of Jedediah Preble, Esq: and others."

      This Act of Legislature confirmed to the Phillips heirs practically the same tract as that conveyed to them by Fluellen, the Indian Sagamore; the land to be relinquished was a small settlement at Parsonsfield, within Shapleigh's grant, and possibly some encroachment upon the town limits of Shapleigh, as confirmed to the Shapleigh heirs.

      The heirs of Samuel Small made no organized effort toward a settlement at Ossipee until 1774, as shown by the Proprietors' records of their first town, Limington, then called "Small's town, or the Plantation of the Little Ossipee." This name, Ossipee (Ossabe, Osaby, etc.), borne for more than two and a half centuries by the largest tributaries of the Saco River, in the Indian dialect signifies "River of Pines"; particularly appropriate, as are most Indian names, since the region at that time was noted for its remarkable growth of pine.

      In an irregular, oblong figure formed by the Saco River on the north, and by a sharp bend in the same river on the east, and by Little Ossipee on the south, the first town lots were laid out. The Proprietors voted, in that summer of 1774, that "Mr Joshua Small be directed and impowered to proceed as soon as may be in taking a plan of a tract of land called Limington ... & lot the same into lots, that part thereof next Saco river into thirty acre lots, the residue into hundred acre lots and return said plan to said proprietors immediately." "For making roads and bridges on their lands," the sum of œ40 had been "assessed on the several original shares" at a previous meeting.

      Though this was the beginning of the settlements of the Smalls at Ossipee, there were already a few persons, "squatters" on the supposedly wild lands of the state, who were dealt with in different ways. Some paid a merely nominal sum for their few acres. Amos Chase, said to have been the first pioneer of that region, was granted two hundred acres "in consideration of his having built a mill within the proprietors claim." John Perry was voted one hundred acres "for Services done the proprietors."

      Beside the "one half of thirteen thousand acres" granted to their counsel, the Hon. James Sullivan, tracts of five hundred acres each were granted to the other lawyers connected with the settlement of their claims, -- David Wyer, Esq., and Theophilus Bradbury, Esq.

      Not until "August the 4th Day, 1777," did the Proprietors fully explain by what right they had taken possession. Then it was "Voted that the following persons are Proprietors in the Shares and Proportions following:

      Vizt the heirs and assigns of Samuel Small late of Scar- | of
      borough in the County of Cumberland deceased, eldest son | Two
      of the said Samuel under whom the proprs. hold. | fifths
      The heirs and assigns of Joseph Small late of Falmouth in | one
      said County deceased another son of said Samuel last named| fifth
      The heirs and assigns of Elizabeth March wife of Benjamin | one
      March late of Kittery deceased a daughter of the said Sam-| fifth
      uel last named | &
      The heirs & assigns of Mary Davis wife of Solomon Davis | one
      late of Gloucester in the County of Essex deceased another| fifth
      daughter of said Samuel Small last named |

      "Recorded by me SAMLL SMALL Said Proprietors Cler"

      It is impossible to fix the date of Francis Small's return to Kittery. His family may have been in that place during the last few years that he had the trading-camp at Ossipee. When he abandoned his camp there is not known; but, if tradition be correct, he would not have been likely to return after his hasty flight in 1668.

      April 13, 1671, he was granted, by the selectmen of Kittery, a hundred acres of wild land in the Parish of Unity, which were measured and laid out, two years later, "at ye great-hill neare Wells Swamp [and] bounded with ye highway." The Parish of Unity was anciently called Newichewannock, Quamphegan, and later Berwick. It is now South Berwick.

      This, however, does not appear to have been his home. One Abraham Conly, of Kittery, in his will, dated March 1, 1674, mentions "all that pte of my land that lieth at Sturgeon Creeke which is now lett & disposed of to one Francis Small," and it is believed that here at Sturgeon Creek he dwelt for some years.??

      During King Philip's war, 1675-76, the family of Francis2 Small, according to the deposition of his son Samuel3, was living in Major Shapleigh's garrison-house.

      Later, he took up his residence in the old house that his father, Edward Small, had sold to Antipas Maverick in 1646; possibly on the strength of the œ40 sued for by his father, March 15, 1649, and still unpaid. John Shapleigh, aged thirty-six years, nephew and heir to Major Nicholas Shapleigh, testified, in 1678, "That this deponent being in company with ffrancis Small & Antipas Maverick upon ye 25th of this Instant month of June did hear [Maverick demand] whether Small would be gone out of his [Maverick's] house & he would not be gone.... This depont further testifieth that he ye sd Mauerick hath quietly & peaceably possessed the house & Land now in controversy wtht any molestation or disturbance that he ever knew or heard of neere thirty years last past."

      In 1683, the heirs of Maverick, Stephen Paul and Edward Gilman, brought suit against "Frans Smale Senior," the issue of which is thus recorded: "Jury finds for the Plantiffs the Land sewed for.... Execution granted 1: June: 1683: & Costs of Court Two pounds fourteen shillings."

      The business ventures of Francis Small, so often resulting disastrously to him, in one instance at least proved more successful. In 1670, he served an attachment upon "the Goods & for want thereof the Body of Abraham Corbett [of Kittery] & to take Bond of him to the Value of ffive hundred pounds Sterling."?? Two years later, judgment was granted against Corbett, and possession of two hundred and two acres of land at Newichewannock was given to Small. July 16, 1674, this land passed into the hands of Mr. George Mountjoy, "by vertue of an Execution"; one half of which Mountjoy, for œ80, sold to John Farnum, of Boston, in 1675. The remaining half, of which Francis Small appears to have regained possession, Small conveyed by deed to his son Daniel, of Truro, who in turn mortgaged it to Thomas and John Marshall, of Boston; but the mortgage was discharged in 1730, and the heirs of Daniel Small retained it for a time.

      During the years spent in the neighborhood of Falmouth, Francis Small bore an especially prominent part in the political struggles of that period.

      The government of the Province of Maine was anything but satisfactory. Two factions were striving for supremacy; the smaller portion desiring to see the government of Gorges restored, while the larger body of people preferred a government strong and equitable, like that of Massachusetts.

      The trouble began in 1645, when, not having heard from Sir Ferdinando Gorges for some time, the General Court which convened at Saco elected Richard Vines, Esq., Deputy Governor for one year, with the proviso that if he "departed the country before the year expired," Henry Jocelyn should be Deputy Governor in his stead. Within a month, Richard Vines, disheartened, embarked with his family for Barbadoes, leaving Jocelyn in charge of governmental affairs.

      "With the departure of Vines, George Cleeve saw his most powerful opponent abandon the field. His old enemy, John Winter, had sickened and died; and Mackworth, upon whom Cleeve had relied, had abandoned him and joined his enemies. In the eyes of many, the church and royalty were indissolubly united; thus many in whom loyalty to the church had been awakened deserted Cleeve." Still, Cleeve claimed the office of Deputy Governor "by vertue of his Patent, viz. from Sacadehock river to Cape Porpus," known as the "Rigby patent," and set up a court, in opposition.

      The court of Jocelyn, claiming to act under Gorges, on October 29, 1645, passed an order as follows: "Ordered by joynt consent in Court that wee will ptect and ayde the inhabitants of Cascoe Baye, as namely Mr. Arthur Mackworth and all others in Confederacy wth vs there and ther estates from all oppression wrong or injury that may be offered by Mr. Georg. Cleeves, or from any vnder him."

      The spirit of party raged with more violence in Falmouth, probably, than in any part of the country; and the feeling against Massachusetts was intense, especially among those who differed with her in religion. John Jocelyn, brother of Henry, who came over from England during these agitations, wrote: "the people may be divided into magistrates, husbandmen or planters, and fishermen; of the magistrates some be Royalists, the rest perverse spirits; the like are the planters and fishers both; others meer fishers."

      In August, 1656, seventy inhabitants of Saco, Cape Porpoise, Wells, Kittery, and York addressed a petition to Lord Cromwell, stating that they were "a people few in number not competant to manage weighty affaires," and praying to be continued under the government of Massachusetts. The desire for orderly and stable government spread rapidly, and Massachusetts pressed forward to establish jurisdiction over all the territory claimed by her.

      The court assembled at York, July 5, 1658, and adjourned on the eighth, to meet four days later at the house of Robert Jordan at Black Point, where (on the twelfth) officers for each town were chosen. Henry Jocelyn was chosen Commissioner for Scarborough; George Cleeve and Robert Jordan for Falmouth, as Casco Neck was then called. The next day, July 13, 1658, about thirty "Inhabitants of Black Point, Spurwinke and Casco Bay" signed a document known as the "Submission to Massachusetts," "ffrancis Smale" heading the list. George Cleeve and Henry Jocelyn also signed this paper.

      But this did not have the desired effect; recrimination, presentments at court, and arrests followed. The neighborhood of Falmouth became a caldron of seething spirits.

      George Cleeve brought an action in the court held at York, July 4, 1659, against Francis Small, "to the valew of five hundred pounds for praesuming to settle & build vpon the plantiffs Lande, & for felling of his Tymber from thence without Leave." This was a matter of spite because of Small's occupation of the Capisic tract recently purchased from Scitterygusset. "The Jury finds for the defendt," Francis Small.

      In 1660, Francis Small and fifteen others presented a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts against the then ruling officials of their territory -- "George Cleeves, Mr. Phippen and John Phillips" -- as men unfit for office; and praying for "freedom to vote for our own officers & nott such men imposed vpon vs."

      Three years later, Francis Small affixed his signature to a "Declaration of ye Townes of Scarboro & ffalmouth Black Point & Casco to be Presented to ye Hond Court at York, 4 July, 1663... [as] nott willing to subiect or submit ourselues to ye claims of either Authorities in this province or Countie for fear of bringing our selues into further trouble till itt shall bee Determined by his Maiestie our Soueraing Lord ye King to whom we properlie belong."

      It has been charged that Francis Small made seditious speeches against the government; but the above certainly shows a disposition to conform to the law, if he knew to what authority he was amenable.

      Francis Small, Senior, his occupation gone, tired of fighting Indians, and troubled with conflicting claims in his land speculations, "obnoxious to the Government... when it was possessed of Gorges' right... became discouraged and went away to Plymouth Colony," with his son, Daniel.
    Person ID I31421  Old North Yarmouth, Maine
    Last Modified 30 Sep 2019 

    Father SMALL Edward,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F8966  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family LEIGHTON Elizabeth,   b. CA 1634, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Abt 1652/3  Kittery, York, Massachusetts [Maine] Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
     1. SMALL Edward,   b. Abt 1652/3, Falmouth, York, Massachusetts [Maine] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Apr 1702  (Age ~ 49 years)
     2. SMALL Mary,   b. 1656,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. SMALL Francis, Jr.,   b. Abt 1659, , , Massachusetts [Maine] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     4. SMALL Benjamin,   d. Yes, date unknown
    +5. SMALL Samuel, Sr.,   b. Abt 1664,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. SMALL Daniel,   b. Abt 1667, , , Massachusetts [Maine] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    +7. SMALL Daniel,   b. 1674, Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1729, Truro, Barnstable, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years)
     8. SMALL Alice,   d. Yes, date unknown
     9. SMALL Elizabeth,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 29 Mar 2020 
    Family ID F8954  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S1463] Book-Small-Descendants of Edward Small, 1:44-110.

    2. [S1463] Book-Small-Descendants of Edward Small, 1:41.

    3. [S1463] Book-Small-Descendants of Edward Small, 1:59.

    4. [S1463] Book-Small-Descendants of Edward Small, 1:110.

    5. [S1463] Book-Small-Descendants of Edward Small, 1:44.